A blockbuster land swap deal has been finalised between the City Renewal Authority and the National Capital Authority (NCA), further allowing the ACT government’s plans to transform the West Basin to come to fruition.
The agreement sees the ACT Government acquire 2.8 hectares of federal land at West Basin that they will develop for mixed-use, in exchange for 31 hectares of land in Curtin, which the Federal Government plans to develop into a new expansive diplomatic estate.
The acquisition of the Curtin parcel, which comprises a significant portion of the North Curtin Horse Holding Paddock, will require horse owners to vacate the inner-south paddocks by 2022.
An NCA spokesperson told Canberra Weekly that they have needed to expand the diplomatic estate for some time, given Canberra’s supply of diplomatic land is “effectively exhausted”.
“The NCA has been contacted by a number of countries who would like to establish or expand diplomatic representation in Australia. These requests have not been able to be met to date,” they said.
National Capital Plan policies advise diplomatic activities are established in places deemed “prestigious”, with good access to Parliament House and other designated diplomatic precincts.
In 2012 they sought to expand the diplomatic estate in Yarralumla, however decided against lodging a proposal in response to a parliamentary inquiry.
The NCA first publicly identified the North Curtin Horse Holding Paddock as a suitable site for a new diplomatic estate in its 2013 submission to that same inquiry.
The spokesperson said various stages of planning for the diplomatic estate will involve public consultation, including the draft amendment to the National Capital Plan and detailed planning proposals.
West Basin ‘urban public space’ to expand
This second stage of the City Renewal Authority’s Acton Waterfront project will extend the lake edge boardwalk by a further 500 metres.
It will also include the construction of two more public jetties, and create more than 5 hectares of lakeside public spaces.
City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said their consultation workshops have revealed a high level of community support for the project.
“We’ve heard that people want this location to become a destination for everyday life, supported by a network of interconnected mix of uses such as such as parks, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and community facilities,” he said.
Work on expanding the Acton Waterfront is slated to commence this year, while construction of apartments in the precinct won’t start until later this decade, with the land set aside for housing not designated for release until the mid-2020s.
The first stage of the Acton Waterfront precinct was the creation of Henry Rolland Park and the construction of 150 metres of new boardwalk, which commenced in November 2016 and opened to the public in April 2018.